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101 of the best short quotes of all time

A little wit goes a long way.

When you’re feeling fried from a long day or a loved one got not-so-great news, the last thing you need is a dissertation on how to bounce back. You want something quick and easy to help you draw your shoulders down and exhale. These inspiring, motivating, and even funny short quotes will brighten your day or lift up a friend who needs it. (And don’t hesitate to keep these in your back pocket for next time.) 

There are classic short quotes ahead, from larger-than-life figures like Nelson Mandela and Helen Keller, to ground you and remind you of your strength. Plus, newer bursts of encouragement from modern-day icons Amanda Gorman and Brené Brown, who can offer a fresh perspective and leave you with a sense of hope. 

In the wise words of baseball great Yogi Berra, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it!” Whichever way you decide to go—funny, inspiring, motivating, or even Dr. Suess (yes, of course he's here too!), we hope these short sayings make you smile.

Motivating short quotes

  • “The time is always right to do what is right.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.” — Sheryl Sandberg
  • “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” — Vince Lombardi
Short Quotes
  • “You have within you, right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you.” — Brian Tracy
  • “Character is power.” — Booker T. Washington
  • “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” — Dr. Mae C. Jemison
  • “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” — Albert Einstein
  • “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” — Tony Robbins
  • “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” — H.G. Wells
Short Quotes


  • “I’d like people to think of me as someone who cares about them.” — Princess Diana
  •  “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” — Jordan Belfort
  • “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt
  • “Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson
  •  “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  — Wayne Gretzky
  • “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” — Thomas Jefferson
Short Quotes
  • “The only approval you need is your own.” — Amanda Gorman
  •  “Never regret anything that made you smile.”  — Mark Twain
  • “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” — Maya Angelou
  • “Perpetual optimism [is] a force multiplier.” — Colin Powell
  • “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Short quotes from famous songs

  • “All you need is love.” — The Beatles, “All You Need Is Love”
  • “The future is no place to place your better days.” — Dave Matthews Band, “Cry Freedom”
  • “You can’t always get what you want.” — The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
  • “Don’t stop believin’.” — Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin’”
Short Quotes
  • “Every little thing is gonna be alright.” — Bob Marley, “Three Little Birds”
  • “Just stay on track and never look back.” — Dolly Parton, “Blue Smoke”
  • “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” — Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler”
  • “Let the river run, let all the dreamers wake the nation.” — Carly Simon, “Let the River Run”
Short Quotes
  • “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” — The Beatles, “The End”
  •  “The hills are alive with the sound of music, with songs they have sung for a thousand years.”  — Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, “The Sound of Music”

Inspiring short quotes

  • “Do not let making a living prevent you from making a life.”  — John Wooden
  • “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” — Nelson Mandela
  • “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller
  • “What’s the world for if you can’t make it up the way you want it?”  — Toni Morrison
Short Quotes


  • “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” — T.S. Eliot
  • “The greatest wealth is to live content with little.” — Plato
  • “If you prioritize yourself, you are going to save yourself.” — Gabrielle Union
  • “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
  • “The best way out is always through.” — Robert Frost
  •  “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” — Oprah Winfrey
Short Quotes
  • “For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  •  “Doubt is a killer. You have to know who you are and what you stand for.” — Jennifer Lopez
  •  “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford
  •  “The most important thing is to enjoy your life — to be happy — it’s all that matters.” — Audrey Hepburn
  •  “Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
  •  “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw
  •  “The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.” — Voltaire
Short Quotes
  •  “Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
  •  “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan
  •  “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” — Woody Allen
  •  “There is no courage without vulnerability.” — Brené Brown
  •  “Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.” — Mario Fernández
  •  “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
  •  “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Short Quotes


  • “Oh, the places you’ll go!” — Dr. Seuss
  •  “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.” ― William Butler Yeats
  •  “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus 
  •  “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ― Nora Ephron
  •  “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” — Bill Gates
  •  “You don’t learn to walk by following rules, you learn by doing, and falling over.” — Richard Branson

Historic short quotes

  • “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde
  • “Perhaps one day it will be pleasing to recall even such hardships.” — Virgil
  • “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” — William Shakespeare
  • “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
Short Quotes
  • “I think, therefore I am.” — René Descartes
  • “Carpe diem.” — Horace
  • “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” — Neil Armstrong
  • “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis
  • “Less is more.” —Mies van der Rohe
Short Quotes


  • “History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.” — Michelle Obama
  • “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” — Mark Twain
  •  “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” — Thomas Edison
  •  “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” — Alexander Graham Bell
  •  “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Short Quotes


  • “Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.” — Jim Rohn
  •  “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” — Mother Teresa

Funny short quotes

  • “I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” — Steven Wright
  • “Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?” — Robin Williams
  • “My favorite machine at the gym is the vending machine.” — Caroline Rhea
  • “I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.” — Noel Coward
Short Quotes
  • “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” ― Dorothy Parker
  • “All my life I always wanted to be someone. I see now I should have been more specific.” ― Lily Tomlin 
  • “Before you marry a person you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.” ― Will Ferrell
  • “I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.” ― Phyllis Diller
  • “Some people have no idea what they’re doing, and a lot of them are really good at it.” ― George Carlin
  •  “Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.” ― Jerry Seinfeld
Short Quotes


  • “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” ― Allen Saunders
  •  “No man goes before his time — unless his boss leaves early.” — Groucho Marx.
  •  “There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.” — Mindy Kaling
  • “A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” — Steve Martin
  • “I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early.” — Charles Lamb

Uplifting mantras and mottos

  • “The only easy day was yesterday.” — U.S. Navy SEALs
  • “Semper Fidelis.” (Always faithful.)  — U.S. Marine Corps
  • “Just do it.” — Nike
  • “Think different.”  — Apple
Short Quotes
  • “Impossible is nothing.” — Adidas
  • “Lux et Veritas.” — Yale University motto
  • “Excelsior!” (Higher!)  — New York state motto
  • “May the Force be with you.” — "Star Wars"
  • “Hasta la vista, baby.” — "Terminator 2: Judgement Day"